Date of this Version
Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg., 84(3), 2011, pp. 435–442
Plague, caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis , is a severe, often fatal disease. This study focuses on the plagueendemic West Nile region of Uganda, where limited information is available regarding environmental and behavioral risk factors associated with plague infection. We conducted observational surveys of 10 randomly selected huts within historically classified case and control villages (four each) two times during the dry season of 2006 ( N = 78 case huts and N = 80 control huts), which immediately preceded a large plague outbreak. By coupling a previously published landscape-level statistical model of plague risk with this observational survey, we were able to identify potential residence-based risk factors for plague associated with huts within historic case or control villages (e.g., distance to neighboring homestead and presence of pigs near the home) and huts within areas previously predicted as elevated risk or low risk (e.g., corn and other annual crops grown near the home, water storage in the home, and processed commercial foods stored in the home). The identified variables are consistent with current ecologic theories on plague transmission dynamics. This preliminary study serves as a foundation for future case control studies in the area.